Deciding to move abroad is one of the biggest and most important choices you can make. For many people, the idea of establishing a new life in another country is what dreams are made of. For others, a move abroad is out of necessity or for professional reasons. Either way, it’s an experience that very few people will ever have. In fact, only 3.5% of the world’s population lives outside of the country that they were born in.
Whatever your reasons for moving abroad are, it’s very common to experience “homesickness”. This is a sensation of uncomfortableness or insecurity in your surroundings. It can be felt physically and emotionally. Essentially, it is a longing for something familiar, predictable, and stable.
Even if you are enjoying your time in a new place, homesickness can affect you. Whether you miss your family, food, friends, or particular home comforts, homesickness can be triggered out of nowhere. Homesickness can be mild but at its worst, it can be totally debilitating. It can affect your ability to work, study, or perform regular tasks.
The most important factor in overcoming homesickness is to recognize that you’re experiencing it. Once you realize that your symptoms are stemming from this normal phenomenon, you can start the process of getting over it. Just remember that it won’t happen overnight. However, once you overcome the initial stint of homesickness, you’ll never look back.
For all of you missing a little piece of home while living abroad, here are a few great ways to combat homesickness.
Explore and Learn About Your New City
A feeling of unfamiliarity and lonesomeness could be down to the fact that you’re living in new surroundings. If you don’t know the city that you’re living in, perhaps getting used to it could help.
Explore your new city and get a feel for the culture and atmosphere. Once you’re familiar with the vibes and know your way around, you’ll feel a lot more comfortable.
A great approach to exploration is to act like a tourist for a couple of weekends. Check out Tripadvisor.com and visit all the major landmarks and attractions. Next, make a list of hangout spots that you frequented back home, such as cafes, bars, or parks. Visit a few in the area and find your new favourite places to spend time.
Work on Your Social Life
While having a social life in 2020 is somewhat of a rare commodity, it’s still a crucial aspect of life. Once things get back to normal, ensure that you put yourself out there, and engage in social activities. Although this can be daunting in a new city, having a friend circle can make life a lot happier.
A great way to improve your social life in a new city is to join ex-pats groups or forums online. Facebook is an excellent online source to find communities within cities. Group members often arrange social outings or offer advice if you need help.
Join a Team or Club
Routine plays a big role in familiarizing yourself in a new place. The mind and body become accustomed to their surroundings and regular activities. Joining a team or club not only provides structure but it also gives you a social outlet. It’s a fun way to meet new people and socialize.
Whether you’re interested in sports, arts and crafts, or any other hobbies, research clubs in your area and join up.
Keep in Touch With Home
Cutting communication links with family and friends at home can have its benefits. It can afford you some space while you assimilate your new move.
However, this can also have a negative impact. Depriving yourself of contact with loved ones can make you feel lonely, causing your homesickness to worsen.
Sometimes, something as simple as a phone call or video chat can be enough to ease your anxiety. Keep in touch with people from home and let them know how you’re feeling. They might just have the right words to say to you.
An important thing to realize is that you’ll always be sad to miss out on big events taking place at home. Whether you’re abroad or not, it’s never easy.
Take Reminders of Loved Ones
By taking photos, items of sentimental value, and other mementoes of loved ones, you can be reminded of them every day. As a tangible way of staying connected with people, physical reminders can be very useful.
Unfortunately, many people have loved ones who have passed away. Not having the chance to visit their grave or burial site can be tough. Memorials.com has a range of keepsakes and memorial items to help remind you of those who are no longer with you.
Make Your House a Home
If your new house or apartment isn’t homely, you may find it difficult to settle. Make an effort to add some comforting touches. If you’re used to snuggling up on the sofa to binge Netflix shows at home, go shopping for a comfy blanket and do the same abroad.
Install atmospheric lighting, hang some art, and decorate with photos. These can go a long way toward creating a home that you’re happy to live in.
Don’t Waste Time on Social Media
Social media is designed to steal hours from you. Although it can come in handy for communication purposes and to make your daily commute more tolerable, scrolling through your Instagram and Facebook feeds and being constantly reminded of home won’t help with homesickness.
Limit your time spent on social media and be more productive with your day. Avoid being passive and embrace proactivity.
Immerse Yourself in the Culture
Although it’s important to hold on to your identity, immersing yourself in your new culture can be useful. It helps you to integrate into society can make you more content in your surroundings. By understanding different people’s way of life, your new culture will feel a lot more comfortable.
Keeping physically fit and active has tremendous health benefits. As well as keeping your body in tip-top shape, exercise is highly beneficial for the mind. It’s a natural anti-depressant that can alleviate stress and anxiety.
Having an active lifestyle provides you with opportunities to escape when times are tough. While all exercise causes the body to release endorphins (happiness chemicals), fresh air and nature can go a long way in boosting your mood too.